Although Dodge City, the bibulous “Babylon of the Plains” was well-known for its wicked ways it also attracted a number of preachers who welcomed the challenge to “stand up for Jesus.”
One day a young man calling himself Brother Johnson came to town and soon his youth and enthusiasm was attracting large crowds. He dazzled them with such theatrics as pulling a snake out of a bottle of whiskey to demonstrate the evils of alcohol.
His success was such that Brother Johnson felt confident enough to convert the notorious mankiller, Mysterious Dave Mather. It became the ultimate challenge. After several efforts at friendly persuasion Mysterious Dave agreed to attend a sermon.
That evening the gunfighter was escorted to the front where Brother Johnson proceeded with his fire and damnation sermon on the horrors of hell and the blessings of heaven.
Brother Johnson declared he would secure a place in heaven for himself if he converted Dave and he would gladly die to be able to save poor Dave’s soul. When he finished several other members of the faithful got caught up in the moment, stood and declared they too would gladly die for Dave and join him on his heavenly flight
Now it was Mysterious Dave’s time to speak. He rose and declared that he had been touched by the hand of the Lord and he knew now that if he died he would surely go to heaven. Then, pulling his six-shooter he declared that he must die now for if he continued to live he might be tempted to backslide.
Therefore he proposed to kill the volunteers along with himself so that all might enter the Kingdom of Heaven together.
“I will send you first,” he shouted, firing a shot that nearly took off a piece of the preacher’s ear. Then he fired a few more shots over the heads of the faithful creating a mad scramble for the door.
Mysterious Dave stuck his pistol back in the holster and opined matter-of-factly, “You are all a bunch of hypocrites; you don’t want to go to heaven with me.”
With that he shot out the lights and went home.
I can’t vouch for the veracity of this story but it’s too good not to tell